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A businessman can be as military as any politician.
– Wes Craven
My mother never saw any of my films until she was in her late 80s, and that was ‘Music of the Heart’ with Meryl Streep.
All I’m doing is rearranging the curtains in the insane asylum.
You learn a lot more from those bumps than from when things are going great.
You have to be aware of what the audience’s expectations are, and then you have to pervert them, basically, and hit them upside the head from a direction they weren’t looking.
I had been a college teacher. I had taught Greek mythology.
I didn’t even know what a horror film was. I kind of made it up as I went along.
I like to think I’m making films in the film business where movies are making enough numbers for the studios to let me keep working, but you also want those films to have content that makes you proud you made the film. That’s not easy, but it’s a fun puzzle to figure out.
I came from a very strict background.
Whenever I go to have a meeting at Universal, the security guard just leaps to his feet and comes over, bumps my hand, and says, ‘Thank you! Thank you – I love your films!’
Everybody’s making horror films and, to me, not especially well.
‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ was so important because it was such adult film-making – to see something that dealt with such an important issue and had such an enlightened outlook on the world.
Some people ask why people would go into a dark room to be scared. I say they are already scared, and they need to have that fear manipulated and massaged. I think of horror movies as the disturbed dreams of a society.
If I’m going to be a caged bird, I’ll sing the best song I can.
Within the structure of ‘Scream 4,’ there is the film within a film, but that’s been part of the ‘Scream’ franchise since ‘Scream 2,’ when you had the ‘Stab’ franchise.
The first monster you have to scare the audience with is yourself.
I think I wrote the first draft of ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ in ’79. No one wanted to buy it. Nobody. I felt very strongly about it, so I stayed with it and kept paying my assistant and everything. At a certain point, I was literally flat broke.
I think everybody goes off and does their own vision. And I don’t take responsibility for other people’s work, frankly. It’s bad enough taking responsibility for my own.
I learned to take the first job that you have in the business that you want to get into. It doesn’t matter what that job is, you get your foot in the door.
It’s not an easy place to be – to write a horror film. You go down the stairs to the dark to find these characters. It’s not a place anyone can go, and sometimes it’s not a place that you want to go.
A lot of life is dealing with your curse, dealing with the cards you were given that aren’t so nice. Does it make you into a monster, or can you temper it in some way, or accept it and go in some other direction?
I had a musician friend once tell me that it’s not in the orchestra that you get the true test of the musicians but in the little trios and quintets where you really get to see if they’ve got the stuff. And the composer.
When you have a name that means scares, you have to live with that.
You don’t enter the theater and pay your money to be afraid. You enter the theater and pay your money to have the fears that are already in you when you go into a theater dealt with and put into a narrative.
All of us have our individual curses, something that we are uncomfortable with and something that we have to deal with, like me making horror films, perhaps.
If something comes along that is totally outside of horror, fine, but I find there’s an immense amount of freedom within the genre.
There was a period around Columbine when horror films were being kind of assailed by the government. The studios got very afraid that they were going to be sued, and studios at about that time were all being taken over by corporations.
How can you have ‘Scream’ without Ghostface? It’s like ‘Friday the 13th’ without Jason.
In the ’60s, I was teaching humanities at a college in upstate New York and trying to publish a novel I’d written in graduate school. But nothing was happening. So I moved to New York City and got a job as a messenger at a place that made movies.
Everybody is afraid of the unknown. Everybody is afraid of the people that they’ve done terrible things to!